Middle East Monitor / December 14, 2021
Jewish Israelis are disguising themselves as Muslims to sneak into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, Israel’s Channel 13 news reported.
The extreme Israeli organization Returning to the Mount, that promotes Jewish entry to and prayer in the compound, is fuelling concerns among security officials, who warn that their actions could spark violence at the Muslim holy site.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Raphael Morris, head of the Returning to the Mount group, told Channel 13, the group stresses on appearing like Arabs so as not to raise the suspicions of Al-Aqsa Mosque guards or the Jordan-run Islamic Waqf Department, which oversees holy sites in Jerusalem.
Yisrael, an instructor, was shown in footage broadcast by Channel 13 teaching the extreme members of the group how to carry out Islamic positions of prayer while discreetly reciting Jewish liturgy.
“Our vision is to be able to go to the Temple Mount at all hours of the day, and eventually to also succeed in building the Temple and restore the sacrificial services,” said Morris. Insisting that he acts “openly” and that his actions are legal, Morris said: “The fact that the country doesn’t like it doesn’t mean that it is illegal.”
Since 2003, Israel has allowed settlers into the compound almost on a daily basis. Scores of Jewish Israelis storm the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate every day, under the protection of the Israeli occupation police, and carry out provocative tours, as well as performing Talmudic prayers.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
It annexed the entire city in 1980, a move never recognized by the international community.